One thing I never thought about where one could take the series as: "maybe we could play as an insufferable brat while shooting foetuses and taunting the fathers, getting the highest style rating without being stylish in the slightest, both enemies and bosses pose no threat, the controls are clunky and the gameplay is slow and broken up by unskippable cutscenes."
That's what we got.
That's not to say the game doesn't have any redeeming features, aside from the character models the visuals can be very pleasing at times, with interesting environments that morph around you, and bright colourful areas to explore - though the design flair tails off towards the end, and Vergil's voice actor, David De Lautour, delivers an excellent performance.
The game starts off with the opening sequence showing Mundus securing a business deal, and stating that he has complete control of the world through debt, but expressing concern over the "loose end" Dante. Lilith, his female counterpart of sorts, assures him there is nothing to be worried about, and Mundus agrees and shows his anticipation of the protagonists death. He seems to be an interesting villain, his motives are clear cut and there is an air of dominion around him, you feel like he's a threat and like he is a foe worthy of respect. The game so far seems interesting, then we cut to some strippers pole dancing. And the introductory credits start to roll. We see out protagonist Dante, drinking in a nightclub and watching pole dancers do their thing, while throwing around bottles before taking them to his trailer for a night of what one can only assume to be very expensive sex. Our hero ladies and gentlemen.
The protagonist, Dante, comes across as immature and juvenile, delivering one-liners that are more embarrassing to listen to than funny, and throwing profanity and insults around that would probably appeal to teens who have just started puberty and think "your mum" is a brilliant response in an intense debate. His design appears sloppy and unclean, and it matches his attitude well since everything about him screams sloppy and uncaring, although towards the end his character arc shows him starting to care about his cause (more on "the cause" later.)
The female lead, Kat, seems to serve mainly to point out the obvious and provide someone for Dante to deliver his painfully bad one liners to when there aren't any bosses or main characters around, and even she recognises the vulgarity of Dante's behaviour on occasion. While she does serve some role in the plot, it's not a role that couldn't have easily been done by Vergil, and she feels like an unnecessary character, it doesn't help that the devs justify her existence with "she's there to remind Dante of his humanity" when Dante very literally has no humanity in his new iteration. Oh, and she uses squirrel cum. This is canon and even mentioned in the game's dialogue.
Vergil is by far the most likeable of the protagonists, he has clear cut motivation, he's not as juvenile as Dante, yet is still worth noticing, unlike Kat. While he, like Dante, does commit some god awful acts for no real reason other than to make someone angry (he shoots a woman and her foetus for one), he is dedicated to the cause and is clearly motivated, and while his dialogue with Dante can occasionally cause him to stoop to Dante's childishness ("I have a bigger dick[sic]"), he seems to have a level of class, similar to that he had in the original franchise. His design is also probably the best in the re-imagining, aside from his laughable fedora he looks respectable and his clothing, again aside from the fedora, reflects on Dante's with a higher level of class just as his dialogue does.
Mundus, the villain, is the most likeable of all the characters. He's mature, he has clear motivations, and he seems to have everything under control, ruling humanity in a way that allows them to live their lives in a relatively safe manner. You find yourself actually feeling sorry for him as the story goes on and the brothers tear his world to shreds, and he often seems more like the good guy than the bad guy. He has a powerful personality that demands respect, and, while he seems very 1 dimensional, he at least shows a level of maturity and seriousness throughout.
"The Cause" that the three of them become so passionate about is to essentially
The game runs at 30 fps, which is all the engine, UE3, can handle, even while heavily limiting the
amount of enemies. It seems a bizzare choice on the part of Ninja Theory to use Unreal Engine 3 when Capcom offered to teach them to use MT Framework, guess they just didn't want to put in the effort. Note that DMC4 and the special edition of DMC3 ran at a perfect 60 fps, and the PC version of DMC4 had instances where the screen was literally filled with the character and enemies.
The control layout takes heavy inspiration from Heavenly Sword and the game has no lock-on which affects the game in a multitude of noteworthy ways. Launching now requires a dedicated button (B) and stinger now requires a double-forward+attack input (which makes the attack slow, clunky and hard to consistently pull off)
Lock-on lets you keep an enemy in your sights as well as letting you know what you are going to be swinging at. In DmC, you can only guess. Furthermore, it changes how you move. Locking onto 1 enemy gave you a central point that you could strafe around. It made directional inputs easier and allowed you to dodge into specific directions. It also created a pseudo 2.5D field between you and the opponent, allowing toward, from and strafe commands to be implemented into attacks and combos, which is now impossible.
Styles have been completely removed from the game, these added a heavy amount of depth to Devil May Cry 3 and especially 4 with on the fly style switching. It allowed you to choose how you played and customize your play even more than the different attacks alone did. Do you want to focus on being a swordmaster or a gunslinger? Do you want to focus on dodging and teleporting from enemy to enemy or do you want to be use RoyalGuard and reduce all damage to 0 if you were good enough? Do you want to use your Devil Trigger meter to slow time? Or to create a Doppelgänger? 4 gave you 5 different styles at once that you could switch between on the fly, which provided years of replayability for Dante and is still regarded by many as the best combat to exist in an action game to date. New ways to use this system are still being discovered years after release and integrated into pro-gaming True-Style Tournaments.
While we have a variety of weapons and attacks in DmC, they are severely limited in comparison to DMC3 and 4, and it shows in the distinct lack of challenge to be found in the game.
Weapon switching is gone, instead, you equip a different set of weapons by switching stances
The Angel Stance gives access to the Scythe Osiris and the bladed throwing weapons Aquila.
Osiris is worthless. It lacks the damage, lacks the speed and the control to make it a worthwhile weapon. It's supposed to be used in mid-air, but everything Osiris does can be done better by the other weapons.
Aquila is hilariously broken, rendering groups of enemies useless.. Once thrown, it darts between multiple enemies, dealing damage and subsequently stunning them in place as every attack in the game tends to. The amount of hits it delivers can be upgraded as well. It also deals massive damage to bosses due to hitting them multiple times as a result of their immense size.
The Demon Stance gives access to the Axe Arbiter and the "HIT THE RED SPOTS WITH THIS" Hands Eryx.
Arbiter is without a doubt the most overpowered and broken weapon in the game for solely one attack: Tremor.
Tremor has a quick start-up has a fairly large impact and destroys everything in its way, furthermore, having the damage bonus from a perfect demon dodge allows a Tremor that hits just 2 targets to catapult the style straight to SSS while instantly killing the enemies. Without Devil Trigger.
Spamming the attack can get the player up to a SS rank while crushing everything in its way without any danger, leaving you unsatisfied at your undeservedly high style rating.
Eryx is a worse version of Arbiter. It's in the same vein, slow but heavy hitters, but it's slower than Arbiter, doesn't hit as hard, and doesn't hit as large an area. The game often forces you to use it to progress and stun bosses in scripted boss fights, but it has little actual application outside of that.
Combat puts heavy focus on two different things, grappling and aerial combat. There are two grapples, demon pull and angel pull, demon pull will move the enemy to you or tear of shields, angel pull will pull you to the enemy. Use of these allows to you stay in the air indefinitely completely removing the need for the jump cancelling they added to try and appease fans of the old style of gameplay. Aerial Combat is easy to do, incredibly easy to uphold, and the safest way to fight in this game. Almost every mellee mook will be completely helpless once you take to the skies, as they are stunned untill they hit the ground, meaning they cannot hit you, and you can hit them indefinitely.
The Devil Trigger is a huge missed opportunity, it could have been an opportunity to truly allow you to get some fast varied, stylish game-play instead it just launches the enemies in the air for you to wail on untill the very slow draining DT gauge runs out. Thrilling.
Time no longer affects your style rating, and you can increase it without switching up styles to look stylish, just deal lots of damage and you can easily get a SSSavage rating, you don't earn a high style rating as you did in previous games, it's just given to you.
Enemies are incredibly passive. demons will now wait for 5 minutes to give you a chance to kill them before attacking. And anyone who wants to attack will politely ask for 3 seconds with very loud
noises and a glowing weapon before actually proceeding to attempt to hit you. Even ranged enemies give you a blinking laser between the both of you for 3 seconds before attacking.
as a result, the game is very easy. This does not noticeably change with a higher difficulty setting. All that changes is the spawn setup of enemies and their damage output. They still have the same moveset, the same timing and the same weaknesses, they just spawn in different groups and hit harder, not that it's difficult to not got hit.
The bosses aren't satisfying to fight and beat, they all have incredibly easy to avoid attacks and are constantly interrupted by unnecessary cutscenes, not only this but the all die very, very quickly, taking insane amounts of damage from every hit, Mundus in particular was observed to lose more than half his health when he exposed his "hit here to hurt me" spot once on DMD mode.
Many of the levels consist of more platforming than fighting, platforming having already been deemed to be possibly the worst area of the entire franchise. You pull of awkward angel dashes and angel and demon pulls in a QTE like experience while the world morphs around you, which sometimes makes it difficult to gauge distances, and leaves you unable to rely on the prediction as the distance can simply change as soon as you jump.
At times the game will force you to use specific weapons for specific enemies. While this seems like an interesting way of adding challenge at first, it ultimately just limits how you can play the game, going against the experimentation aspect of other games in the franchise. Instead of being able to play it your way that you like and enjoy playing, the game forces you to use a certain weapon which you might not enjoy using. The night club stages even feature ground tiles that will damage you if you don't have the right weapon equipped.
Overall the combat feels slow and clunky, partially because of the unresponsive controls, and partially because the combat is very slow compared to the old games, and lacks he finesse and style the franchise is known for.
The game is sub par, The combat, while more in depth than say god of war, is far inferior to that of the previous games, the characters are unlike-able and the writing is god awful, the only area this game really succeeds in is visuals, and even they start to turn for the worse towards the end of the game.
The worst part of it is, this may be the last Devil May Cry we get, we may never see the original Dante or experience new contributions to the original game-play style again, instead, when people think of devil may cry, there will always be the awkward moment when they remember that this is what we got instead. Unlikable characters, a laughable story, and gameplay that instead of leaving you feeling satisfied, leaves you wondering why you aren't playing DMC3 or 4 instead.